In 2004 a plaque commemorating Father Pat Noise was installed on a bridge in Dublin, Ireland. Pat Noise never existed.
Between 1746 and 1792, seventeen students of Carl Linnaeus set out across the globe to collect plant and animal samples for his new taxonomy. Seven of these apostles died on the trip, and one would betray Linnaeus.
Between 1941 and 1943 Germany broadcast propaganda jazz music with altered lyrics into Britain.
The longest word in Ancient Greek literature comes from Aristophanes’ comic play Assemblywomen. It is 78 syllables long.
In the Domesday Book of 1086 the economic value of forests is not measured in the amount of wood they could provide, but in the amount of pigs they could feed.
An iconic image of silent film: a space ship approaches the face in the moon and crashes into its… mouth? In 1908 a competitor made a nearly identical shot-for-shot remake of Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon.
In Norse mythology Fimbulwinter is the great winter immediately preceding Ragnarök. It may have been inspired by the horrifying real-life events of 536 CE.
The Vatican City has the shortest national railway line in the world, but it almost had none at all.
The historian A. Roger Ekirch has argued that in Medieval Europe, and in many places prior to the Industrial Revolution, people would habitually wake up for an hour in the middle of the night.
In 1946 Simeon II, the last person to bear the title “tsar,” was deposed and exiled from Bulgaria. Fifty years later, he returned and was elected prime minister.
When he arrived in London in 1850, Obaysch was the first hippopotamus in Europe for more than a millennium.
There is a courtyard gallery in the Palazzo Spada in Rome that is designed to fool the eye. It looks like it should be 37 metres long, but in fact it’s only 8 metres in total.
Edith Margaret Garrud trained British suffragettes in Japanese martial arts so that they could evade capture by the police.
The kilt was banned in 1746, forcing the Scots to wear “the unmanly dress of the Lowlander.”
Monet’s 1890-1891 painting series Les Meules à Giverny captured haystacks at multiple times of the day, seasons, and weather conditions. He did this by painting several canvases at once, swapping them as the day changed.